In the years I have been associated with Halo and had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts with you all, I have had the additional pleasure of becoming good friends with Dr. Donna Spector, Halo’s veterinary advisor. I have also had the privilege of learning from her right along with the audience on our pet talk radio show on the Radio pet Lady Network, THE EXPERT VET.
When my youngest Weimaraner Teddy became suddenly ill – and then sick to death – last year, Dr. Donna interrupted her one yearly horseback vacation without her beloved husband and three small kids to do everything she could to help me save Teddy’s life as he down-spiraled.
I wrote about that horrible journey on my blog and will never forget her kindness and generosity in trying to help, especially because I feel sure that if she (and my friend Dr. Sue Ettinger, and co-host on THE PET CANCER VET, had been able to get more directly involved, we could have saved Teddy, for at least awhile. From hearing her on our radio show I’m sure everyone wishes they had a vet like her, to calmly and firmly take charge of a medical situation and make sense of it, often giving brilliant insight and performing intervention to save the lives of dogs and cats.
It was with a sense of shock along with sadness that I learned that Dr. Donna lost her own dear small dog Morgan over the holidays. It reminded me that our vets cannot (always) perform miracles, even for their own four-legged family members. I think it is meaningful for us to remember that our doctors share our deep attachments to our dogs. The loss is just as profound no matter how full our home and the rest of our lives may be. Dr. Donna wrote this to me and said I might share it:
“Lost my bestie Morgan Spector on Saturday. 14 years old and terribly missed by all. We boarded her over Thanksgiving when we went on family vacation – she got kennel cough and from there went into a rapid decline. The antibiotics I had to use threw her chronic IBD/pancreatitis into an uproar…vomiting, diarrhea, no appetite. Then the medications I had to give her for that made her crazy and downright maniacal. My youngest child (who is inexplicably terribly afraid of dogs???) —was terrorized by Morgan’s personality change.
So poor Morgan was either maniacal with medications or without them she was lethargic with vomiting and no appetite. My kids kept asking why Morgan felt so terrible all of the time. I tried to give her every chance, and it was awful to watch her go through this. She ended up getting terrible bloody diarrhea and was so dehydrated and lethargic…I just knew she had had enough. What was I doing for Morgan?
Sometimes it takes the brutal honesty of a 5 year old to give you a wake- up call. I also had to take into consideration her many chronic problems—IBD, pancreatitis, liver cancer I diagnosed a year ago, heart disease, and chronic allergies. She would never get back to normal and normal wasn’t even so good anymore. When had I lost sight of her quality of life? So, together we thanked Morgan for blessing our lives and sent her on. My house is so silent and I miss the sounds of her breathing and her toenails clacking (why was I ever irritated by that? !) I am downright SAD. Tracie, send up a toast that Morgan be happy and healthy wherever she is : ).”
I’ll do that, Dr. Donna – in honor of all the “besties” we all have had, who gave us the gift of loving us through our lives, clickety toenails and all.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.